a bronze male figure facing to the viewer's left, with an expression of anguish and one arm raised and folded behind his head

Italian Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Allen, Denise, Linda Borsch, James David Draper, Jeffrey Fraiman, and Richard E. Stone, with contributions by Peter Jonathan Bell, Raymond Carlson, Federico Carò, Paola D’Agostino, Alex Foo, Claudia Kryza-Gersch, Fernando Loffredo, and Tommaso Mozzati
2022
568 pages
590 illustrations
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The revival of the bronze statuette popular in classical antiquity stands out as an enduring achievement of the Italian Renaissance. These small sculptures attest to early modern artists’ technical prowess, ingenuity, and desire to emulate—or even surpass—the ancients. From the studioli, or private studies, of humanist scholars in fifteenth-century Padua to the Fifth Avenue apartments of Gilded Age collectors, viewers have delighted in the mysteries of these objects: how they were made, what they depicted, who made them, and when.

This catalogue is the first systematic study of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s European Sculpture and Decorative Arts collection of Italian bronzes. The collection includes statuettes of single mythological or religious figures, complex figural groups, portrait busts, reliefs, utilitarian objects like lamps and inkwells, and more. Stunning new photography of celebrated masterpieces by leading artists such as Antico, Riccio, and Giambologna; enigmatic bronzes that continue to perplex; quotidian objects; later casts; replicas; and even forgeries show the importance of each work in this complex field. International scholars provide in-depth discussions of 200 objects included in this volume, revealing new attributions and dating for many bronzes. An Appendix presents some 100 more complete with provenance and references.

An essay by Jeffrey Fraiman provides further insight into Italian bronze statuettes in America with a focus on the history of The Met’s collection, and Richard E. Stone, who pioneered the technical study of bronzes, contributes an indispensable text on how artists created these works and what their process conveys about the object’s maker. A personal reminiscence by James David Draper, who oversaw the Italian sculpture collection for decades, rounds out this landmark catalogue that synthesizes decades of research on these beloved and complex works of art.

Met Art in Publication

Mars, Venus and Cupid with Vulcan at his forge (the Mantuan Roundel), Gian Marco Cavalli  Italian, Parcel-gilt bronze with silver inlay, integrally cast gilt frame with suspension loop., Italian, Mantua
Gian Marco Cavalli
ca. 1500
Bather, Bronze, probably Netherlandish
late 16th–early 17th century
Seated woman representing Astrology, Giambologna  Netherlandish, Red wax, Italian
Giambologna
mid-1570s
Sprite, Donatello  Italian, High-copper alloy, fire-gilt, brown natural patina where exposed, Italian, Florence
Donatello
1432
David with the head of Goliath, Bartolomeo Bellano  Italian, Bronze, later oil gilding, Italian, Padua
Bartolomeo Bellano
1470–80
Cherub and shell, Sculptor close to Donatello  Italian, Bronze, Italian, Florence
Sculptor close to Donatello
possibly 1470s
Angel (one of a pair), Bronze, fire-gilt, Italian, probably Florence
late 15th century
Angel (one of a pair), Bronze, fire-gilt, Italian, probably Florence
late 15th century
The Virgin Mary, Neroccio de' Landi  Italian, Bronze, partially fire-gilt, Italian, Siena
Neroccio de' Landi
late 15th century
Saint John, Neroccio de' Landi  Italian, Bronze, partially fire-gilt, Italian, Siena
Neroccio de' Landi
late 15th century
Saint John, Bronze, partially oil-gilt, on a later stone base, Italian, Siena
late 15th century
Doorknocker, Bronze, iron pin, Central Italian
late 15th–early 16th century
Standing boy, Andrea Mantegna  Italian, Bronze, silver inlay (eyes), on a later porphyry and ormolu base, Italian, probably Mantua
Andrea Mantegna
late 15th–early 16th century
Spinario (boy pulling a thorn from his foot), Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)  Italian, Bronze, partially gilt (hair) and silvered (eyes), Italian, Mantua
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)
probably modeled: 1496, cast: ca. 1501
Satyr, Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)  Italian, Bronze, with remains of dark brown lacquer, Italian, Mantua
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)
ca. 1510–ca. 1520
Bacchanal with a Wine Vat, Andrea Mantegna  Italian, Engraving and drypoint
Andrea Mantegna
Before 1475
Paris, Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)  Italian, Bronze, partially fire-gilt, silver inlay, Italian, Mantua
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)
ca. 1518–1524
Emperor Antoninus Pius, Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)  Italian, Bronze, partially oil-gilt, silver inlay, on serpentinite socle, Italian, Mantua
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)
1519–24
Rothschild lamp, Andrea Briosco, called Riccio  Italian, Bronze, on a later wood base, Italian, Padua
Andrea Briosco, called Riccio
ca. 1510–20
Triton and Nereid, Andrea Briosco, called Riccio  Italian, Bronze, Italian, Padua
Andrea Briosco, called Riccio
after 1532–before ca. 1550
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Citation

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Allen, Denise, Linda Borsch, James David Draper, Jeffrey Fraiman, Richard E. Stone, and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), eds. 2022. Italian Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.